By: Kelsey Thompson - The Flatwater Cartwheel is a move where the paddler links vertical bow and stern ends resembling the spinning of a wheel. Perfecting this move is a great achievement and prepares you for cartwheeling in holes.
Step One: Start with some forward speed and initiate a powerful double pump that pulls your boat vertical. (Somewhere between 50-70 degrees is ideal) Keep your body in a neutral position because leaning too far back will pull you over vertical.
Step Two: Once vertical there are a few things you need to do. Pull the blade that you used to initiate the move out of the water, turn your head and body to look over your leading shoulder, switch you boat onto it’s other edge with your knees and hips and plant your next blade in the water as a powerful forward sweep stroke. Picking a spot on shore and looking at it the entire time you do your move will help you keep ahead of your boats rotation and your cartwheels in a straight line. It's important to keep your arms in tight while cartwheeling as this will give you more power and make your stroke transitions much quicker.
Step Three: With a powerful forward stroke, good edge transitions and proper use of your core muscles you should be approaching vertical on your stern. When vertical on your stern keep you body forward in an aggressive position. As you reach vertical on your stern it’s time to start all over again. Switch edges, turn your body aggressively down towards the water and plant a backstroke to pull the bow down. Once your bow is down repeat Step Two.
There is no limit to how many Flatwater Cartwheels you can do but the focus should be to do a few quality ends rather than a lot of sloppy ones. A quality Flatwater Cartwheel will resemble the spinning of a wheel with the paddlers body staying fairly still like the axle and the boat staying in a relatively straight line.